Richard Kirwan

Richard Kirwan nsIn existographies, Richard Kirwan (1733-1812) (GCE:#) (CR:15) was an Irish chemist noted for his work on specific heats. Portuguese chemist Joao Magellan credits his 1780 table of specific heats to data supplied by Kirwan. [1] Kirwan did significant work in affinity chemistry. [2]

Kirwan, born into wealth, growing up in the historic Cregg Castle, with its own vast library of science and chemistry books, was said to have an enormous affinity for books, and was constantly found reading, whether in his bedroom or up in a tree. While in France, at about the age of ten, one of his tutors discovered that he Kirwan spent a good deal of leisure time reading chemistry books, and so to encourage him to learn French, replaced them with chemistry books in French, after which Kirwan learned French. Kirwan spent ten years in London, from 1777 to 1787, during which time he established a reputation as a scientist. His 1787 Essay on Phlogiston, supposedly, is his best-known work.

Kirwan was an adherent of phlogiston theory, as described in his 1787 Essay on Phlogiston and the Constitution of Acids, wherein he identified phlogiston with hydrogen; by 1791, however, he seems to have abandoned phlogiston theory in favor of Antoine Lavoisier’s caloric theory.

See also
Milk and genius

1. Scott, E.L. (1981). “Richard Kirwan, J. H. de Magellan, and the Early History of Specific Heat” (abs). Annals of Science, 38(2): 141-53.
2. Kim, Mi Gyung. (2003). Affinity, That Elusive Dream: A Genealogy of the Chemical Revolution (Richard Kirwan, 22+ pgs). MIT Press.

External links
Richard Kirwan – Wikipedia.

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